The Hawaiian Islands have some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Oahu alone has amazing beaches, swaying palm trees, lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls and the towering Ko’olau mountains. The Big Island of Hawaii has an active volcano, a snow-capped mountain with a world-class observatory and cattle ranches. Each of the other Hawaiian Islands – Maui, Kauai, Lanai and Molokai – also have their unique natural beauty. So, why is it that most high school students who vacation in Hawaii don’t think about having their senior pictures taken here? Probably because all their classmates have their senior pictures taken with the school photographer back home.
The few students who break the mould are richly rewarded with unique senior portraits that can only be taken in Hawaii. Below are some great outdoor locations for student photos in Hawaii.
It would be remiss not to mention the most popular location for portrait photography in Hawaii. There are golden sand beaches, black sand beaches (Big Island of Hawaii), beaches with lava rocks around – the list is endless.
If you’re a plant lover or would like a lush green background in your photos, consider a visit to a botanical garden.
Rainforest and Waterfall
Photos in a rainforest usually involves taking a hike. Several rainforest hikes do have waterfalls at the end of the trail but it may not be practical to take several outfits and hike through the mud. However, most local photographers will know of areas that have a rainforest feel sans the hike. There are also manmade waterfalls that can be easily accessed.
Orchid or Tropical Flower Farm
You will need to get permission to shoot at an orchid or flower farm, but most places will grant permission if you offer to buy a plant (yes, they can package orchids for air travel) and explain that the photos are for your personal use and not for commercial purposes. If you like a very colorful background, orchid and flower farms are good locations for your senior pictures.
Your hotel grounds
Most of the higher-end hotels have beautifully landscaped areas that are great locations for photography. Unfortunately, some of these hotels charge a ridiculously high photo fee even if the guest’s pictures are for their personal use. Your best bet is to call the hotel’s guest services director and ask him or her to waive the fee. Insist on using the photographer of your choice and not the expensive hotel photographer who takes boring pictures. If they refuse, say that you will stay at another hotel that is more accommodating. Chances are, they will waive the fee because hotels need to fill up their rooms.
If you love riding, consider taking your senior photos at a horse ranch or riding school. This will also require obtaining permission ahead of time.
Chinatown or some other bustling street in Honolulu
If you want to throw in some culture into your shoot, take a stroll down Honolulu’s Chinatown area on a Sunday morning. Bustling markets selling fresh fruits and vegetables amidst the historical buildings of Oahu’s downtown makes for a funky backdrop to your senior pictures.
Some senior portrait photographers, including myself, will allow pictures with family members, siblings or friends with some of the extended packages. Photo books, slide shows and canvas prints are also offered as add-ons with your outdoor senior portrait packages. These are all well worth considering as they will be a wonderful souvenir of your trip to Hawaii.